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Silverfish Pest Control

Silverfish are small, silvery looking insects that worm their way into your paper goods and can quickly take over your home. Nothing will give you the shivers like opening a good book and a dozen little bugs pouring out over your hands and lap. Let’s take a look at what silverfish are, what kind of damage they can do to your home, and how you can exterminate them once and for all.

What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish are white, blue-grey, or bluish-silver insects that are shaped like a long teardrop or fish – hence the term “silver-fish”! They aren’t very large, just 12-19 mm in length. They are also easily distinguishable by their three-bristled tail.

Silverfish are capable of living and thriving most anywhere, but they prefer damp, dark areas like attics, basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. They are especially drawn towards damp cloth and paper, which is likely why they are commonly found in stored boxes in sheds and garages as well.

What Do Silverfish Eat?

Silverfish eat carbohydrates in all forms. They particularly love starches and sugars like those found in cellulose, the glue in books, paper, linen, silk, shampoos – even other dead insects. They are infamous for ruining papers, books, wallpaper, and clothing once they infest a house. Many older homes struggle with silverfish – especially in the damp months.

Encountering Silverfish

Silverfish Infestation

How Did Silverfish Get In My House?

Silverfish are almost always tracked or carried into your house unknowingly. Live insects or eggs can be carried in via cardboard boxes and plastic moving containers. Once you store these and leave them, the silverfish multiply until you bring the infected containers back into your house. 

Silverfish can also enter your home through torn screens, gaps around your door, or through foundation cracks. They’re drawn to warm, moist places like basements – and often people don’t notice them until it’s too late. Dirty dishes covered in delicious carbohydrates are also an attraction for silverfish – so be careful about cleaning up!


Silverfish on white background

Are Silverfish Dangerous?

Silverfish are irritating, destructive, and disgusting, but they are not deadly or dangerous. In large quantities, their droppings can cause allergy symptoms and asthma to worsen, but they are not known to transmit diseases like fleas and ticks do.

Silverfish are a hazard in that they are likely to attract other, more serious pests like carpet beetles who prey on silverfish.

Silverfish can pose a danger to your personal items however. They are infamous for ruining books, chewing large holes through clothing and upholstery, and munching on important files and other stored objects.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish


Silverfish Remedies

One of the best pest control strategies to prevent silverfish infestation is to deprive them of the moisture and humidity they thrive in. You can use dehumidifiers to help, but you should also:

  • Increase ventilation in crawl spaces by opening vents
  • Use boards with caulking to seal cracks and keep out moisture
  • Clean regularly and stringently to keep potential food sources from them

If you already have a silverfish pest control problem, you should hire a professional exterminator. By the time you notice silverfish, there is usually a full-blown infestation and the traps and pesticides you can buy at the store work best on individual, adult bugs. 

Cinnamon may repel silverfish – but it does not kill them or their eggs. And you have to make sure you kill the adults and the eggs if you truly want to end an infestation. Killing silverfish eggs requires a specialized chemical mixture that is usually only available to professionals because it is toxic and hazardous to handle.


If you are looking for a pest control specialist with silverfish extermination experience, contact West Termite, Pest, & Lawn. We will send a technician to your home to perform a free assessment and provide you with an obligation free quote.